Thirty people in the United States die every day in drunk driving accidents. This is the reason the government takes DWI cases very seriously. Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher in the country is an offense.
If you refuse to take the BAC test, the state will charge you with a DWI if you conduct yourself similar to a person under the influence of alcohol.
If the officer suspects there may be other drugs that are the reason for your impairment, they can request a urine or blood test to confirm their suspicions. This is often after you have taken the portable screening test, and it indicated that your alcohol levels are low. After the blood test, if it indicates that there is the presence of a controlled substance and alcohol, the State will charge you with a DUI and a DUID.
If you’re involved in a DWI in Louisiana, Baton Rouge, or Livingston, it’s important to understand your case inside and out. Here are seven things you should know about your DWI cases.
1. Does the Prosecutor Need to Prove the Charges in DWI Cases?
The prosecutor must prove a few elements to convict you for DWI. Some of those things include:
- You were operating a vehicle
- Your BAC was above 0,.08%
- You were under the influence of alcohol or other drugs
The penalties are entirely different for people charged with a DUID and those charged with a DUI. The defendants need to submit a chemical test of the breath or blood. When stopped by the police, the should take the BAC test immediately. If you’re required to provide a blood sample for further testing, they should collect the sample within 3 hours of the arrest.
The State can still charge you with DUI even if you refuse to take the BAC or the alcohol levels in your system are below 0.08%. This conviction will rely on the videotape evidence that your demeanor is similar to that of a person impaired by alcohol. The main indicators of impairment include:
- Alcohol odor
- Slurred speech
- Inability to follow instructions
- Unsteady gait
- Poor performance in sobriety tests
- Asleep while driving
- Flushed appearance
- An admission that you have been drinking
Simply put, your refusal to take the chemical test implies an admission of guilt.
2. Suspension of Your License
If your alcohol levels are over the limit, DMV will automatically suspend your driving privileges. For minors, the limit is 0.02%. Commercial drivers will get suspended if their levels are 0.04%.
Following your arrest, the State will retain seize your license for 30 days, and you will have 10 days to dispute the suspension. During the administrative per se hearing, you will have the opportunity to challenge the constitutionality of your arrest and the BAC results.
3. The Legal Defense
Of course, once you’re arrested for a DUI, you need to get an attorney who has an intimate knowledge of the procedures and protocols of DUI arrests in Livingston and Baton Rouge. There are several reasons that can cause a false result as medical conditions, fatigue, some prescription, and environmental factors.
There is also the fact that the breathalyzer machine needs to be serviced regularly. Therefore, if they use a breathalyzer that wasn’t serviced properly, your attorney will get you out without any penalties or jail time. So, do not automatically enter the guilty plea if your lawyer believes that they can win the case.
The penalties are more severe if you were arrested and convicted for a DWI before. At first, you will only get charged for the misdemeanor charges. However, if this is your fourth DUI offense in less than 10 years, have a previous DUI felony or caused an accident that led to serious bodily harm and fatality, then the penalties will be severe.
For the first offense, the fine may be between $390 and $1000, 48 hours jail time, 3-5 years of probation, community service and up to 6 months license suspension. Even after completing your sentence, the conditions for getting the license may be limited to just driving to and from work.
5. Aggravating Factors
There are certain factors that make your case look even worse to the judge. These issues include a hit and run, refusal of the chemical test, excessive speeding and driving with a passenger who is under 14 years.
When you’re arrested, ensure that you cooperate with the police and do exactly as they say. You should also contact a good attorney who will tell you what your chances are. A good lawyer will get you out with a slap on the wrist, and you will not have to get the severe penalties.
6. Should I Represent Myself?
There are times when you feel that attorneys in West Baton Rouge are too expensive. Most people choose to represent themselves. However, this is not always recommended.
The prosecutor may get you off guard with charges that you could avoid when you have a lawyer. You are likely to get a harsher penalty if you have no idea what to do and how to argue your case. That is why you need to have a good lawyer from the get-go.
7. Take the Case Seriously
The law takes drunk driving seriously, and offenders are penalized heavily because of the number of accidents each year that result in death and disabilities. Therefore, make sure that you take the case seriously, follow the law and research as much as possible to ensure you get a fair judgment.
Have Your Attorney Successfully Handle Your DWI Cases
Most DWI cases have a penalty of no more than 10 days in jail. However, if you have a previous charge, it is crucial for you to ensure that you have good representation. When you understand what to expect, things are much easier for you financially and emotionally.